In a true case of unfortunate timing, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith was injured while playing for the IceHogs in Rockford on Friday night. The team’s leading goal scorer injured his hand and missed Saturday night’s game in Milwaukee due to the injury.
It is not known at this point how long Smith will be out of action.
Over his last 25 games, Smith has posted 12 goals, 12 assists to go with a plus-5 rating. His season total of 15 goals are one better than that of Martin St. Pierre, the IceHogs overall leading scorer.
Last Saturday in Rockford, we had a chance to catch up with IceHogs forward Kyle Beach for a season-in-review discussion.
The Blackhawks 2008 first-round (#11 overall) draft pick missed 57 games this season due to a dislocated right shoulder that needed surgery. Beach suffered the injury on October 28 in Peoria during a fight with Rivermen forward Stefan Della Rovere.
After extensive rehabbing and four and a half months sitting in the stands, Beach returned to the IceHogs lineup on March 23 against the Houston Aeros.
Prior to the injury, Beach had posted 3 goals, 3 assists in the IceHogs initial 8 regular season games. Beach registered an assist in his first game back and scored in his third game, which was the back end of a 3-in-3 at Milwaukee on March 25.
Although he appeared in just 19 games this season, there were some encouraging steps Beach took during his second pro season, as we discuss in this audio and the interview with Beach.
A juicy rebound goal by Rostislav Olesz and a Shawn Lalonde shot that went off Jimmy Hayes’ pant leg and in was all the IceHogs could muster against Matt Climie on Saturday night before the second-biggest crowd of the season in Rockford’s BMO Harris Bank Center.
That wouldn’t be enough as the Wolves scored goals in bunches to defeat Rockford by a final score of 6-2 in front of a sell-out crowd of 6,164.
Carter Hutton was mercifully pulled from his net by IceHogs coach Ted Dent after the Wolves scored three goals in 2:34 midway through the second period. Hutton was able to stop 15 of the 20 shots he saw in 28:23 of action but he didn’t have much chance on a few of those goals.
“I apologized to Hutts because our team wasn’t there in front of him,” Dent noted of speaking to Hutton and explaining the switch between the second and third periods.
Alexander Salak came in to relieve Hutton, one night after his victorious 2-1, 27-save return to action after being sidelined ten weeks with an ankle injury. Salak stopped all 15 shots he faced over 31 minutes in relief of Hutton on Saturday. Salak was pulled for an extra attacker with three and a half minutes to go when Chicago notched its sixth and final goal of the evening into the vacated Rockford net. Read more »
Today, the Blackhawks placed defenseman Steve Montador (upper body) on the Injured Reserve list. Montador was injured in Tuesday night’s loss at Colorado.
In his place, the Blackhawks have recalled 21-year old Dylan Olsen from the Rockford IceHogs.
Olsen played in two games for the Blackhawks (January 5 @ Philadelphia, January 6 vs Colorado) last month and posted four shots on goal. He was held off the scoresheet but also left the Hawks an even plus/minus.
The Chicago Blackhawks game in Colorado Tuesday night was a matchup of two teams looking to break out of five-game winless streaks. Someone was going to taste their first win in a while in the Pepsi Center. The ‘Hawks will have to look to break out of their growing slump further West after three third period goals sunk Chicago. Paul Stastny and David Jones led the way as the Avalanche beat the Blackhawks 5-2.
Both teams took nine shots in the first period, none of which found their way past Emery or Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The Avalanche had a couple of odd man rushes that were turned away, most notably by Duncan Keith when Colorado threatened to put of a short-handed goal on a ‘Hawks power play in the fifteenth minute.
Late in the period a bouncing puck got away from Niklas Hjalmarsson, leading to a 2-on-1 led by Stansty. Chuck Kobasew was set up with an open goal, but hit the side of the net with his one-timer. Read more »
The Blackhawks saw their seven-game point streak snapped after a sluggish game in Nashville against the division rival Predators. Despite two goals from Marian Hossa, a flurry of goals from the home team in the middle period turned out to be the difference in Chicago’s first regulation loss since January 6th.
The opening period was characterized by chippy play from both sides. Nashville out-chanced the visitors, but Marian Hossa managed to put the ‘Hawks on the board first on the team’s second shot of the period. Andrew Shaw dropped a short pass to Hossa at center ice, who gained the zone with enough speed to beat Shea Weber to the outside. He protected the puck as he crossed over and beat Rinne inside the right post for his 19th goal of the season.
Craig Smith drew the Preds even just over two minutes later with a power play goal. Rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis had an open lane from the blue line and Smith provided both the traffic in front of Blackhawks’ starter Corey Crawford and the finish on the rebound to make it a 1-1 game going into the first intermission. Read more »
Recently, the IceHogs have put together some solid efforts. That can be said for each of their last four outings post-Christmas.
The IceHogs, however, are not a good enough team to overcome its mistakes typically, as their 11-18-1-3 clearly proves. Rockford has lost each of their last five games (0-4-0-1) and rank dead-last in the AHL, both in terms of their record and goals against (average of 3.8 per game).
Including Saturday night’s 3-2 regulation loss at Peoria, the team has lost its last three games by a margin of 4 goals, and that includes a late 145-foot empty netter by the Wolves on Thursday. At home Friday night, the IceHogs battled hard to pick up a point and get the game to a shootout, but Alec Richards let pucks by on the first three shooters he faced and Rockford lost the game 4-3.
A short-handed squad of IceHogs traveled to Peoria on New Years Eve afternoon for their 9th meeting of the 2011-12 season with the Peoria Rivermen. Read more »
As you’d imagine, Quenneville is a controlled irate and angling for major disciplinary action on the Wings’ Brendan Smith, a prospect who may not make Detroit’s opening night roster. On the other hand, Babcock is doing his best to defend his player while not coming off as a blind fool. Most won’t like what Babcock has to say, but I’d hold judgement until something like this again happens to one of his players.
While its impossible to say for sure considering this is the NHL, there should be some degree of supplementary discipline stemming from this hit.
As you can see, Brendan Smith makes only a veiled attempt at a pokecheck before launching himself into the drifting Hawks’ forward. Aside from the reckless endangerment of Ben Smith, the Wings’ Brendan Smith makes the porous all-or-nothing defensive decision (in the 3rd period of a 3-3 hockey game moments after losing the lead) in the event he missed his shoulder block attempt, would have allowed the Hawks’ rookie in unabated to Detroit’s goal.
While the league heedlessly focuses their sole attention and new regulation on head shots (while very important its missing the larger triggering issue) the cause of most of these unfortunate collisions are players ignoring the puck to take a run at their opponent. Whether the head becomes a point of contact or not shouldn’t make the play any less of a punishable offense. When two players come together – one who is playing the puck, the other is not – bad things can happen. The one who is (the one playing hockey) is at the complete mercy of the player who has disregarded his defensive responsibility for the sake of the highlight film check or worse, and you’re a fool if you don’t believe this goes on, injuring his opposing player. Any part of the body is at risk, the head, neck, back, knees.
Ben Smith missed a month of last year’s AHL season (Jan 8 – Feb 8th) with a concussion, one that coincidentally occurred against Grand Rapids, the Red Wings’ affiliate. Brendan Smith missed that contest with a knee injury. Ben Smith was set for a possible return a of couple weeks later when he was struck in the face with a puck during a practice, injuring him and re-aggravating the concussion. So, depending on how you want to look at it, this is either Ben Smith’s second, or third concussion in the past nine months.